The Danger of Teaching in Silos

Fresh Ideas for Teaching Blog - The Danger of Teaching in Silos
Patricia Brown
Patricia Brown
15 Apr
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Exposing students to the possibilities of what they can do through STEM can help open up the doors of opportunity. Statistics show that there are thousands of unfilled jobs in STEM across the country every year, and 85% of the future jobs for 2030 don’t exist yet. Twenty years ago, a Drone Operator, Social Media Manager, App Developer, or Uber Driver were unheard of. This presents a very unique challenge in preparing our students for the future.

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Computer science and computational thinking are now foundational skills. Students as young as kindergarten age can start to develop these skills to set them on a path that could ultimately change their life trajectory. Our educational system for the past 50 years has not entirely departed from the fundamentals of the four core subjects, textbooks, paper, #2 pencils, and a teacher at the front of the room. Traditionally, teachers decide what students need to learn, when and how they will learn it, and how long it will take. However – now the pedagogy has started to change.

Many tech companies predict that the next era of innovation is human-machine partnerships – not that robots will take over human jobs. That partnership includes developing technologies that work alongside humans in a modern world. As technology advances and intensifies, the workforce of the future will need to be able to adapt quickly. Code.org found that Computing occupations makeup 58% of all projected new jobs in STEM fields. Not all of our students will not be attending traditional colleges and universities, so we have to expose them to multiple avenues to success. Maybe we should focus less on preparing kids for specific careers, and discount the idea that we have to match a degree with a specific job.

CODE.org STEM problem in computer science

Computer Science Education Stats from Code.org

Especially now that complex technologies and ‘infinite’ formation is now available at our fingertips, we must adapt to the learning styles of our students as digital natives. More students are reading online, and using apps, and using YouTube, but in a typical school day, how many meaningful decisions about their role and learning do students get to make? Too often, the answer is not many.

We as educators have to find ways to ignite their curiosity while teaching them to explore the intersections between content. This will enable a symbiotic relationship between students and teachers and the subjects being taught and learned. Most STEM jobs are an intersection of core disciplines, and that being said, they shouldn’t be taught in silos.

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Patricia Brown @MsEdTechie

Patricia J. Brown, known as “MsEdtechie”, is a Technology Specialist in St. Louis. She breaks down traditional classroom walls by creating a culture that fosters collaboration, creativity, communication, and authentic learning. She is passionate about providing educators with practical techniques to integrate technology and make global connections. Among her many accolades as an award-winning educator, she was selected as a National School Board Association’s 20 to Watch, a 2016 Google Certified Innovator, a 2015 PBS Lead LearningMedia Digital Innovator for Missouri, and in 2006, she was honored as Teacher of The Year for the St. Louis Public Schools. She is on the advisory panel for ISTE’s member magazine, Empowered Learner, and she serves as an ISTE Digital Equity PLN Leader. She is a Google Certified Trainer, Common Sense & Graphite Certified, Code.org Facilitator, and also a member of the Discovery Education Leadership Council. Her work has been featured in several publications including, Tech & Learning Magazine, Scholastic Administrator Magazine, Edtech Magazine, Entrsekt Magazine, and she also served as a monthly columnist for Edsurge, and Tech & Learning Magazine. She has been a keynote speaker and presenter at several state and national conferences including a featured TED speaker at the ISTE 2018 conference in Chicago Illinois. On a personal side, she is a proud wife to her husband Brian, and mom-in-chief to their five sons.

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